College: San Jose State University
What was your journey to college like growing up in Riverside, California?
Bryana Ochoa: As a woman of color and being an individual who didn’t grow up in the most ideal environment, my journey to college was often doubted and looked down upon. But, I always knew I wanted to be more than a high school drop-out or another teen mom. I have always had a passion for helping others and that has helped motivate me – to become someone who can have an impact on those around them.
Having that mindset at such a young age is an incredible asset. Sticking on mindset, although you are at a four-year university now, that wasn’t always the case, right?
I decided to attend a community college over a four-year university out of high school because I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. Most of my peers had a dream college in mind and I couldn’t figure out what university I wanted to commit to, but I did know I wanted to eventually attend a four-year university to obtain my bachelors. Attending a community college was very beneficial for me because it gave me the time and opportunity to explore my options.
Knowing that you still planned to attend a four-year university, what was that process like for you and how did you stay on track?
I always knew I wanted to transfer to a four-year university – that was the mindset I had on the first day of classes. As soon as I committed to starting at a community college, I designed an action plan and did everything I could to get information on programs and workshops that I could use to help me stay on track and focus on my end goal for the next two years. I also spent a lot of time learning about the transfer process – specifically what, where, and who to go to for specific information or help.
Now that you are at San Jose State University, what is different and how have you adjusted?
The difference between a community college and a four-year university is so mind-blowing (only Scholars who have made this same transition will understand where I’m coming from). My first semester at SJSU was tough, both academically and personally, it was a hard transition and there were a lot of situations I wasn’t fully prepared for. It has been really hard, but little by little I made my best efforts to put myself out there, reach out, and make new connections at SJSU.
Always know that we’re here for you too if you need someone to talk to! Now looking to the future, as a psych major, what are your post-college goals?
After graduating I want to obtain my PhD in Clinical Psychology with a concentration on children and adolescents. I want to become a clinical psychologist in a hospital environment someday before building and eventually opening up my own program for low-income, minority, and immigrant/refugee children that deal with mental illnesses. Mental health is something that is very important to me and I hope I can do my best to spread more awareness to this topic and help others become more accepting of getting help.
Wow that is incredible! Thinking more broadly now, what are you enjoying most about college, both inside and outside of the classroom?
Inside the classroom I would have to say it is the knowledge I have been gaining and will continue to gain. I am consistently learning about theories or experiments that I have never heard about and have so many individuals around me that are more than willing to share a piece of advice or lead me to a new door that holds new opportunities and experiences.
Away from the classroom I really enjoy volunteering. It’s a passion I have in life that brings me genuine joy and I hope I never stop chasing after it!
We couldn’t agree more – there is nothing better than giving back. Now to our customary final question, what advice do you have for your fellow Scholars?
When you’re going through a tough time, just remember to take a deep breath, let it out, and remind yourself why you went through the process of applying to college. Obstacles are something we can’t avoid in life or control. Take it step by step and never lose focus of what you want or deserve in your life – never lose sight of your goal.
Also remember to practice self-care and to love yourself because you are ultimately the person who will stop you from being successful.